Biologists Bios

John Wickersham, M.A., PhD (abd)

John Wickersham

John is co-principal and senior project manager of Animas Biological Studies (ABS) and serves as lead biologist for raptor research and monitoring projects.  John has a B.A. in Economics from Northwestern University and an M.A. and PhD (abd) in American Studies from St. Louis University. He has 20 years of experience as a field biologist with a variety of taxa, recently with an emphasis on diurnal raptors. Prior to launching ABS, John worked as an environmental consultant in Durango for 9 years, where he conducted field studies for a variety of wildlife research and monitoring projects and authored hundreds of Biological and Environmental Assessments. Prior to working as a consultant, John worked for Round River Conservation Studies (Salt Lake City, UT) where he served as director of the San Juan Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) Project in southwest Colorado and conducted prey-base and habitat suitability studies for the Mexican Gray Wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) Reintroduction Project in Arizona.

John has many years of experience conducting U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protocol surveys for the federally endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) and least Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus), federally threatened Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida), desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), and Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus). He has extensive experience monitoring nests and conducting behavioral studies for Mexican Spotted Owls.

John's experience with diurnal raptors includes surveys and/or nest monitoring for:

  • Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos
  • Common Blackhawk (Buteogallus anthracinus)   
  • Ferruginous Hawk (B. regalis)
  • Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  • Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni)
  • Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
  • Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)
  • Zone-tailed Hawk (B. albonotatus)
  • Praire Falcon (F. mexicanus)
  • Cooper's Hawk (A. cooperii
  • Red-tailed Hawk (B. jamaicensis)
  • Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)

He has also conducted presence/absence surveys for owl species including:

  • Flammulated Owl (Otus flammeolus
  • Northern Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium gnoma)
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl (A. acadicus)
  • Western Screech-Owl (Megascops kennicotti)
  • Long-eared Owl (Asio otus)
  • Burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia)
  • Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
  • Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus)

John’s experience with other species specific surveys includes Lesser Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), Merriam’s Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo merriami), Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus) and Gray Vireo (Vireo vicinior).  He served as a member of the New Mexico Gray Vireo Recovery Plan Advisory Committee and New Mexico Gray Vireo Recovery Team, sponsored by New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.  He is skilled in general avian survey techniques including distance sampling and variable circular plots and has years of experience with nest searching and monitoring for passerines and near-passerines.  He also has extensive experience with vegetative surveys and sampling techniques, including noxious weed surveys, wetland vegetation monitoring, and forest cover plots.  In addition to John's experience as a field biologist, he has also published a number of essays and articles on natural history and conservation.

Lynn Wickersham, M.S.

Lynn is co-founder and senior project manager of Animas Biological Studies (ABS) and serves as lead biologist for research and monitoring projects for passerine birds. She has worked in the nonprofit, academic, and private sectors as scientist and environmental consultant, authoring technical documents and managing projects related to Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive species. She has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University and an M.S. in Biology from Arkansas State University and is skilled in current techniques in avian research and monitoring including project design, field methodologies, and bio-statistics. Lynn has procured hundreds of thousands of dollars for field research, presented findings at scientific meetings, and published articles in peer-reviewed journals. Her primary interests are the impacts of land management practices on habitat use, productivity, and recruitment of birds. Her most notable accomplishment, Lynn served as Statewide Project Manager and Editor for The Second Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas, published in 2016. 

Lynn has many years of experience conducting U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protocol surveys for the federally endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) and federally threatened Mexican Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis lucida) and Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus). She has conducted countless field surveys and monitoring projects for diurnal raptors, owls, waterbirds and shorebirds, upland game birds, and a diversity of passerines and near-passerines. She holds a Master Bird Banding Permit and has operated two Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) banding stations. 

In recent years, Lynn's primary areas of focus is reproductive success and habitat use (at multiple scales) of the Gray Vireo (Vireo vicinior), a pinyon-juniper obligate species, state-threatened in New Mexico, and with a limited range in the Southwest. In collaboration with Natural Heritage New Mexico, she has directed Gray Vireo field studies for nearly 10 years on miltary installations and BLM lands in New Mexico and Colorado. She served as a key member of New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s (NMDGF) Gray Vireo Recovery Plan Development Committee and Gray Vireo Recovery Team.